Sunny Poipu, Hawaii

Poipu Beach at Sunset

Poipu Beach at Sunset

For such a small island (nearly circular with a 32 mi / 52 km diameter), Kauai features incredible diversity. Containing one of the wettest spots on earth, Mount Wai’ale’ale rises to a height of over 5,000 feet (1,524 m) above sea level and averages about 450 inches (11,430 mm) of rainfall annually.

Only a few miles away, however, on the southern tip of the Garden Isle lies Poi’pu (or “Sunny Poipu,” as it is often called), where rain is rarely an issue. Home to famous Poipu Beach, Poipu’s semi-arid tropical climate features an almost perfect balance between the rainy northeastern part of the island and the desert-like west side.

In addition to its idyllic weather, Poipu’s central location permits easy access to much of the island, including Waimea Canyon. (The northwestern coast of Kauai contains the spectacular Na Pali Coast, which is impassable by car, so driving completely around the island is impossible. From Poipu, however, any place that is accessible by car can normally be reached within 1.5 hours.)

Spouting Horn in Poipu

Located just 2 miles from the inn, Spouting Horn is a popular Kauai landmark

Adventures and activities abound in the Poipu area, so whether its swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, golf, hiking, shopping, dining, or one of many other options you seek, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

If you’re the adventurous sort, we can direct you to one of the nearby “hidden” attractions that many visitors never see. Most of Kauai is undeveloped, so there are plenty of these around, and we can help you find your ideal adventure. Secluded beaches, remote waterfalls, wilderness trails — Kauai’s got all that plus a lot more, and Sunny Poipu is the perfect home base from which to explore Hawaii’s Garden Island.

If it’s dining or shopping you desire, Poipu’s got that covered too. In fact, Kauai’s newest shopping plaza, The Shops at Kukui’ula, is directly across the street from the Kauai Beach Inn. A short stroll will take you to your choice of Merriman’s Kaua’i (fine dining), Merriman’s Downstairs Cafe (casual open-air café & pub), Tortilla Republic Grill & Margarita Bar, Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill, Dolphin Sushi & Fish Market, Living Foods Market & Cafe, Dude Dogs, Bubba Burgers, Uncle’s Shave Ice & Smoothies, Savage Shrimp, and Lappert’s Ice Cream & Coffee. Or relax in your room with a delivery pizza from Pizzetta in Old Koloa Town. Kukui’ula Market just down the road specializes in gluten-free products and baked goods for our guests with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Entrance to Kukui'ula Village Shopping Plaza

Entrance to Kukui’ula Village Shopping Plaza (directly across the street from Kauai Beach Inn)

A slightly longer walk or a short drive will take you to the Beach House Restaurant, known for it’s open air ocean-side dining and sunset views. Other nearby options include Da Crack (Mexican takeout), Brennecke’s Beach Broiler & Deli, Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu, Keoki’s Paradise, Roys Poipu Bar & Grill, Red Salt Restaurant, and too many other’s to mention here. Some of these require reservations, which we are always happy to make for you, but please provide us with as much advance notice as possible.

You will also find plenty of gift, apparel, surf, jewelry, and other shops along with numerous galleries, spas, grocery stores, and just about anything else you might need.

Bottom line? Poipu has it all! Come see for yourself what makes Poipu the ultimate Hawaiian vacation destination.

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Why Kauai? Waimea Canyon & the NaPali Coast Just for Starters

Waimea Canyon Ridge - Photo by Ray Gordon

Did you know that in a recent Travel + Leisure Magazine reader survey, Kauai was named the second best island in the world? (The only island ahead of Kauai was Galápagos, and you can’t really live or stay there – in fact, it “can be visited only via boat in the company of a national park guide,” according to Travel + Leisure Magazine.)

There are many reasons for the Garden Island’s popularity, not the least of which are Waimea Canyon and the NaPali Coast.

Waimea Canyon: Often called “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Kauai’s Waimea Canyon is 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and over 3,500 feet deep. Unlike many of Kauai’s stunning landscapes, Waimea Canyon is very easy to access—in fact, it’s one of very few such places on Kauai that can be seen via a paved road. Of course, there are many miles of hiking trails available for those who wish to experience the canyon on a more personal basis.

NaPali Coast Kauai Panorama

Kauai's NaPali Coast as seen from the ocean

NaPali Coast: Not quite so easy to view as Waimea Canyon, but equally spectacular, is Kauai’s NaPali Coast. There are many ways to experience the NaPali Coast, but none involve an automobile, since the highway basically begins and ends here. For the truly adventurous (and experienced), a 16 mile kayak trip can be accomplished in anywhere from 1 to 3 days. However, in addition to incredible stamina, this requires some planning.

Mostly inaccessible by water during the winter months, timing is everything. As one tour operator likes to describe their 1-day kayak tour, “this will either be the best day or the worst day of your entire vacation.” We’ve had guests tell us that they were in tears for the entire landing at Polihale beach. All that said, points out that “In its second year and second issue, National Geographic Adventure ranked kayaking Napali Coast second on its list of America’s Best 100 Adventures, right behind rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.”

If you plan to undertake a 2 or 3 day trip, camping permits will be required, and these often must be reserved up to 6 months ahead of time. So if you do plan to kayak the NaPali Coast, it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into, and start planning well in advance.

Of course there are other ways to see the NaPali Coast that don’t require anywhere near the planning or athleticism that kayaking do. Helicopter tours offer one of the best ways to see all of Kauai, including places that are all but inaccessible any other way. Hiking the famous 11-mile Kalalau Trail is an up-close and personal way to get to know this breathtaking landscape, but this too requires camping and the associated permits. Finally, many boat tours are offered, usually lasting around 4 hours, weather permitting.

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